Sunday, November 11, 2007

Travelogue #10: The Best Explanation of Spam in the History of Mankind

<---Travelogue #9: Bike-Riding Through Chuncheon
--->Travelogue #11: The Alex Pollack Welcoming Party

November 10 2007

My second full week of teaching is over and I feel as if I'm officially part of the fraternity.

Every day has been its own rite of passage. On Tuesday, I raised my voice for the first time. I'm talking RAISED IT. The reason for my volume was Bill, this crazy little booger with an oblong head and a propensity to shout, "It's-a-me, Mario!" in the middle of class. He's ten, maybe eleven. Kid can't stop turning his head around and around, like a Korean-kid-version of Linda Blair, looking at the desk behind him to talk to Daniel, another booger who thinks it's funny to peck his head as if he's a rooster. It's not funny.

I teach this class twice a week, and both times I've had to move Bill to the front of the room. On Thursday, I catch him eating Pepero, this cookie stick. He slips one to me and I accept it, until realizing, wait, he shouldn't be eating in class. Why am I turning into a character that would be the evil teacher in Dead Poet's Society? Because this class gets rowdy and won't pay attention, that's why. I tell Bill to stop eating, but right at that moment, he stuffs about seven candy sticks into his mouth. I tell him to spit it out into a wrapper. The class laughs, disbelieving, waiting. He coughs up the evidence.

I let him take his soggy cookie sticks after class ends. Until next week, Wild Bill.

In another class I teach, the kids are a little older, thirteen or fourteen. Last week we go over internet-related words and definitions:

"Alright guys, does anybody know what "spam mail" means?"

Kevin raises his hand. He's got the typical middle-schooler half-mustache, a trend that apparently transcends oceans. He's big-boned and serious-looking. I like him; he participates the most among a very subdued class.

"Spam mail is...factory that creates kind of ham and..."

"What?" I ask. No way is this happening. No way.

"It is factory that creates kind of ham, and mails advertisements about kind of ham to customers."

I can't help it. I try covering my mouth. I try to look somber. I can't. I laugh. I laugh.

Luckily the other kids don't really get on Kevin's case, and Kevin himself smiles good-naturedly when I explain the difference between spam mail and spam meat. Before the bell chimes, he articulates the different definitions. Well-done, man.

I will never look at spam the same way again.

<---Travelogue #9: Bike-Riding Through Chuncheon
--->Travelogue #11: The Alex Pollack Welcoming Party


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